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POSTED: Monday, May 04, 2009

Civil unions no threat to religion

Reporting on the civil unions bill has portrayed a deep division within the faith community. This is interesting since most people don't perceive the controversy as having any connection with religion. Some people oppose HB 444 from a moral and family-values viewpoint, while the majority of them (80 percent of the population) support it as a civil rights issue.

Within the faith community, there is strong opposition from Catholics, Mormons and some evangelical Christians, and equally strong support from the major Protestant denominations (United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Episcopalian, Unitarian, Lutheran and others), Buddhists and the Jewish community.

Those who are opposed base their position on scripture and belief, while those in support agree with the civil rights approach — justice and equality for all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Those whose opposition is based on religion can be assured that the civil unions bill will not force them into any situation where their beliefs or practice will be compromised. Their belief system is respected and their religious freedom is guaranteed.

Those who oppose the concept of a civil union because they think it will destroy the family and the foundation of American society, in reality, have nothing to fear. Committed couples who seek a civil union share the same family values of a heterosexual marriage.

We can all work together to build a strong community.

 

John Heidel

President, Interfaith Alliance Hawaii

 

               

     

 

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Frightened words fan fears of traveling to Hawaii

Earlier this year President Obama castigated businesses for going to exotic places for meetings and incentive trips, resulting in numerous cancellations of business travel to Hawaii.

Now Vice President Biden warns the nation against any air travel due to concerns over swine flu. This ill-considered statement occurs just as our local tourism industry is starting to see potential new demand from tourists who may switch from a Mexican vacation to one in our islands.

When will the president and vice president start to realize that their words can have dire effects on an already troubled economy, especially in Hawaii?

It may be too late.

 

Willes K. Lee

Chairman, Hawaii Republican Party

 

Lingle's lack of posturing is a refreshing change

I found Richard Borreca's recent column (”;Lingle's lack of plans spawns speculation,”; Star-Bulletin, April 29) very interesting, but probably not in the way the author intended.

As we head toward 2010, a pivotal election year when many elected positions are up for grabs, it is wonderfully refreshing that Gov. Linda Lingle is about the only elected official in Hawaii who isn't blatantly maneuvering for her next run at political office.

I don't know if Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Rep. Neil Abercrombie and nearly every state senator and representative realize how aggravating it is to watch the constant finger-pointing, bickering and gamesmanship as they try to position themselves for their next jobs.

Those of us facing economic challenges and now, swine flu, are not amused by their efforts to politicize every situation. Thank you, Gov. Lingle, for staying focused on your current job and for providing the clear-eyed leadership we need in these challenging times.

 

Elise M. Heck

Honolulu

 

Military helicopters shatter weekend peace

As I look forward to a relaxing weekend, I also acknowledge that my peace and serenity will be rudely interrupted time and time again with the sound of military helicopters flying overhead right through the center of Honolulu. I know we are engaged in a “;war on terror”; presently, but with all the loud choppers flying overhead so often one might think we were attacking Rabbit Island.

Don't get me wrong — I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the military and all they mean to our country and Hawaii in particular. However, a little respect for us civilians would be appreciated.

Having grown up in Kaimalino with Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station as my backyard, I learned that flight plans can be changed in consideration of the civilians. They used to fly right over our house and quite low, but with some polite dialogue our neighborhood was free of the noise as they realized they could fly in over the ocean and not over civilian housing. It was a win-win situation.

Surely something can be done so these valuable military missions can continue for training or attacking Rabbit Island or whatever, and the East Honolulu civilian population does not have to wake up in the middle of the night thinking we are in a war zone.

 

Patrick Bullard

Kahala

 

Biotech crops provide food as well as jobs for many

Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff's comments in the article “;Dow AgroScience to lease Kauai sugar lands”; (Star-Bulletin, April 29) appear uninformed and shortsighted. We now live in a global economy and Hawaii is at the forefront of research to help feed the world.

Nearly a billion people go hungry every day. Agricultural biotechnology is one tool that could help solve this worldwide problem and the demands placed on farmers for increased production. And these solutions are being grown right here in Hawaii. It's not the availability of agricultural lands in Hawaii that jeopardize our food security — it's water, pests, disease, invasive species and climate change.

Biotech crops are not forcing out locally grown crops, but instead are providing vitally needed agricultural jobs for our state. And many other businesses in Hawaii, both in and outside of agriculture, also rely on the profits they make from exporting their goods. Maybe Mr. Achitoff should examine the reasons why so much agricultural land in Hawaii lies fallow and find constructive ways to help farmers return to that land.

 

Alicia Maluafiti

Executive director,

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association